Monday, October 1, 2007

Lancinating Pains- "It's a brain thing"

We who suffer with Central Pain all share one challenge. We cannot find the words to describe what we are dealing with. How can I use words to describe something to someone who has never experienced this?

How can I illustrate to a man, blind from birth, what color the sun is? What words will get the message across as to just what "yellow" means?

One of the CP symptoms I suffer from are lancinating pains. Now, "lancinating" is an excellent word. It has that visual effect right from the start. Lance. A sharply-pointed stick meant for pain or death.

I think that as humans, we all have something that "pushes our buttons." Something in our history has installed a device that when pushed immediately evokes some reaction. Fear. Pain.

That is what a lancinating pain does to me. I can get them in various places and they tend to change around at their will, but I have had a spot on my upper, right deltoid muscle that has had one for the longest time. There is a small skin lesion there, a seeming eruption from the unseen fire deep within. And when it hits, immediately it "pushes my buttons." I used to call it "immediate access to the brain," but learned recently that pain begins in the brain. So, the lance, the spot on the arm, the nerve and the brain are all connected, sympatico with each other and sing in unison a tortuous tune. The lance will fade away until the next time and ice applied to the area does help.

I learned from a friend awhile back that the brain can only recognize one sensation for the same area at a time. Consider your big toe and you stub it on the coffee table and it hurts incessantly. Then, for some ungodly reason, you stick that toe into the glowing fireplace. There will be only one sensation that the brain will assign for that toe, not two. You will not feel the pain of the stubbing AND the burning of the fire. You will feel one or the other and my guess is you'll feel the burn.

Thus, icing helps a lot with these tortures the body and brain dish out. That is, if you have enough ice and are able to stay still long enough to apply several ice paks to the areas in question. But it really does help and I thank God for that.

I've had these lancinating pains for years now. One is very common in my left foot and when it hits, I could easily believe I have broken a bone in that foot. I've broken the metatarsal bone in my right foot so I do know what it feels like. That lancer is just like that, and I have to limp to get the weight off the foot, but then, as steathily as it arrived, it leaves and the foot is good as normal. These days, I go with the flow. I can also say that the lancer in the foot is not the same, not as bad as the one in the right arm.

Giving shots to a nervous dog, one technique that is useful is to scratch the dog behind the ear very vigorously. She will be more aware of the thing happening closest to the brain. This must be the reason why the lancer in the deltoid has a much greater impact than the one in the foot. Time and distance to travel?

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